Yesterday, a fellow attendee of Write/Speak/Code asked me about using Twitter.
“Is it okay to follow people whom I’ve never met before? What if they have a lot more followers than me?”
I responded with a vehement, “It doesn’t matter! That’s the beauty of it. Twitter is a public space. Everyone invites conversation when they tweet, otherwise, their accounts would be private.”
She’s shy and finds it difficult to approach people. This guide is for her, all the introverts in the tech scene, and the extroverts who have no problem initiating conversation, but can better nourish their new connections.
Research Before the Event
Check your confirmation email – Is there a hashtag or Twitter account sent out by the organizers? I bet there is! Follow them.
Upon signing up, Tweet to the world that you’re attending! By doing this, you’re advocating for the event, expressing something that interests you, and possibly aligning with others who are going. You never know, you might influence someone in your network to go.
How to Customize Your Name Tag
The organizers of Write/Speak/Code know what’s up – they asked participants to add their Twitter handles upon registering, so it was printed on our nifty lanyards when we arrived.
Last week, I went to one of my favorite tech meetups (Philly New Tech Meetup) and was given the standard blank name tag, on which I always write @AngieHilem. Why not encourage others to contact you during the event? (This is extra helpful in case you run out of business cards.)
Announce Your Presence
Once you’ve properly labeled yourself, let the world know you’re there. Use this statement as a template:
Excited to be @thislocation to see @speaker & meet other #WomenInTech tonight!
That sentence is only 78 characters out of the allotted 140. A best practice for composing tweets is to write no more than 120 characters. That 20 character or more buffer comes in handy when others retweet you, ensuring that your entire tweet is shared. Additionally, shorter tweets are more likely to be read and shared.
Capture The Audience or A Captivating Slide
Visual tweets get significantly more retweets. It also adds a personal element and triggers a psychological bond with others in the audience, as they are seeing the same thing as you.
On the first day of the conference, I took a picture of Rebecca’s slide and I’m still getting RT’d!
— angie hilem (@AngieHilem) March 19, 2015
Engage With Influencers
Give credit to speakers, whose profiles are typically very easy to find with the previously described event information.
- Quote something that really resonates with you. “Mention” them and use that hashtag!
- Thank them for sharing their story or expertise if, unlike me, you aren’t glued to the phone or prefer to pay attention in a way that does not permit real time quoting.
It takes a lot of effort to address an audience. Thanking a speaker immediately is a kind gesture for someone who just put themselves in front of a group of people – which can be scary! You’re also sharing valuable information with others who might not have arrived yet or just couldn’t make it.
- Your tweet is now a talking point!
- Others in attendance might seek you out at the end of the event and strike up conversation. (Yay! Introverts, that means you don’t have to agonize over making the first move. You already did – and from your seat, no less!)
- An RT might lead to networking after the event. You will be surprised how much this can grow your network and how often you will run into the same people at future events.
- Conversing with a presenter, who is most likely an influencer, will increase your voice and reach by engaging their followers.
It’s Your Turn
These are best practices which I’ve developed and utilize at meetups, conferences, and when I run into people who are special to me.
Try these out next time you’re mingling and let me know if they worked for you!